Cider leaves park benches behind
Thursday 7 May
I’m not a big cider drinker. It’s something I enjoyed at 16 with a dash of blackcurrant when I managed to get into a pub. But it’s now a £1.85bn industry, how did that happen?
I met up with Peter Spencer, the new MD of Gaymers (and, incidentally, a super-fit triathlete) to talk cider. While I hark back to my days of underage cider drinking, Spencer claims, “Cider had an image about students and park benches. Not anymore. The new consumer doesn’t even remember that.”
I must be getting old.
Now, one in four households buys cider whether it’s Magners of the very similar-looking Bulmers, or Gaymers. Gaymers reported its sales were up 3.7% in 2008, to £155 million. Just as well, since they spent £12m on marketing in 2008 and are pouring another £5m in live music this summer – if you’re heading for Glastonbury, Camp Bestival in Reading or London’s Lovebox this year, guess what’s on tap? Spencer says, “68% of 18-24s say music is important to them that’s why we’ve aligned with music festivals. It’s very important to us.”
So what’s the plan under Spencer? He’s looking to increase value rather than volume this year so there’s a focus on premium ciders - and they’ve also relaunched Blackthorn.
“We are in a recession and you can only pay bills if you are generating more value,” he explained